Elise Mertens returns to defend her title in 2018.
WTA Staff
December 2, 2017

Defending champion Elise Mertens leads the field alongside former title winners Alizé Cornet and Mona Barthel at the 2018 Hobart International.

The Belgian won the event as a qualifier in January 2017 – and the 22-year-old returns as the World No.36 after a stellar 2017 season.

2016 winner Cornet was unable to defend her title due to injury, but will be back in 2018 to make her fourth appearance at the tournament. Barthel will go two better, though - this will be her sixth time competing in Hobart, having won her first career title there in 2012 as a qualifier.

Mona Barthel after winning in Hobart in 2012 (Getty)
Mona Barthel after winning in Hobart in 2012 (Getty)

World No.35 Zhang Shuai of China is the highest-ranked player in the field, and she will be joined by former World No.21 Sorana Cirstea, Hobart International 2017 semifinalist Lesia Tsurenko, Hungary's Timea Babos and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

The field also includes Czech rising stars Katerina Siniakova and Marketa Vondrousova, who like Mertens won their maiden WTA titles during 2017.

“The quality of the Hobart International 2018 field is exciting for us and for the fans,” Hobart International Tournament Director Darren Sturgess said.

“To have some of the world’s best female athletes right in the heart of Tasmania is something we’re very proud to showcase to the local community.

“The Hobart International is the oldest tournament on the WTA calendar that has never had a repeat winner – so it is exciting to have former champions Alize Cornet, Mona Barthel and our most recent winner Elise Mertens returning in 2018. All are popular here in Hobart, so I’m sure they will get plenty of support again as they try to make history.”